There are no required vaccinations for entry to The Bahamas, however, travelers over age one must provide a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate if arriving from countries with risk of Yellow Fever, including countries within Latin America and Africa. This requirement also applies to travelers having transited more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of Yellow Fever transmission.
The Zika Virus Public Health Advisory
The Ministry of Health along with our health partners, Pan American Health Organization/World health Organization are closely monitoring the spread of the Zika Virus now circulating in the region of the Americas including the Caribbean.
Zika infection is caused by a virus transmitted to people mainly through the bite of an infected “Aedes Aegypti mosquito”. This is the same mosquito that transmits Dengue, Chikungunya and Yellow Fever.
The symptoms of Zika are mild and most people would have no symptoms at all. The symptoms include fever, skin rash, and red eyes without discharge (conjunctivitis). They may also have muscle and joint pain and headache. Symptoms usually begin 2 – 7 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.
The Zika Disease Outbreak has caused major concerns because of the growing evidence of a link between Zika Virus and smaller than usual heads of newborns and associated developmental problems.
There have also been reports of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a condition characterized by generalized severe weakness that can threaten one’s ability to breathe) in persons infected with Zika Virus. Pregnant women and those who may be pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant in the near future are advised to take extra precaution to prevent becoming infected with the Zika virus.
Becoming infected with Zika Virus is preventable. The Ministry of Health encourages all residents and visitors to avoid mosquito bites by:
- Covering all containers that store water
- Empty standing water from containers
- Treat water in containers to kill immature larvae
- Wear long sleeved light colored clothing
- Use mosquito repellents on exposed skin
- Screen doors and windows
- Burn coconut bark or mosquito coils
- Use insecticides to kill flying mosquitoes on surfaces in and around containers where mosquitoes land.
- Remove old cars, tires and appliances
There is emerging evidence that Zika Virus can be transmitted sexually. If you or your partner has a history of travel to an affected country and or have symptoms of Zika infection, precautions to prevent sexual transmission should include the consideration of abstinence or use of condoms. There are no specific drugs or vaccines to treat or cure the disease.
For further information on Zika Virus please contact the Surveillance Unit at one of the following numbers: 502-4790, 397-1021, 376-3809 or 376- 3970